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Volume 7 No. 149

Marketing and Sponsorship

The French Professional Football League (LFP) announced a naming rights deal with Indian tire maker BKT, according to L’ÉQUIPE. Starting this season, BKT will be the official naming sponsor of French football’s Coupe de la Ligue for six years. The contract is worth €3M ($3.5M) per season (L’ÉQUIPE, 9/12). The LFP also announced it renewed its partnership with TAG Heuer. The watch brand will continue to be the official timekeeper of Ligue 1, the Coupe de la Ligue and the Trophée des Champions through ’21. TAG Heuer’s branding will be visible on LED signs in stadiums and on referee boards. The LFP and TAG Heuer also renewed their “fastest goal” trophy, given to the player that scores the fastest goal in Ligue 1 each month (LFP).

Adidas sponsors Rohit Sharma's footwear.
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Price wars have forced global sportswear brands to "drastically cut down spends on cricket in the world's largest market for the sport," according to the ECONOMIC TIMES. The latest company to "throw in the towel" is adidas, which stopped making bats and soft cricket equipment such as batting pads and gloves. Adidas' decision to outsource manufacturing of cricket equipment to third-party manufacturers "comes after rival Nike stopped selling cricket bats in India and pulled out of expensive bat sponsorships for top cricketers." Adidas Senior Marketing Dir Sean Van Wyk said, "We made the decision to license out our cricket hardware and soft goods to JVS." Adidas, which will continue to supply cricket footwear and apparel to the Indian market, only sponsors footwear and apparel for cricketers Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant and Kuldeep Yadav. It stopped sponsoring Virat Kohli last year, who subsequently struck a Rs 100 crore ($15M) deal with Puma. Managers of top cricketers have also "started to look out for separate sponsorship deals" for bats and other cricket equipment for their clients as two deals "often prove to be more lucrative than one." For instance, Kohli may use an MRF-branded willow bat but he sports footwear made by Puma. The companies which have left the Indian market, however, continue to sell bats in markets such as the U.K. and Australia. A global sportswear firm's cricket manager said, "In India, local companies undercut us" (ECONOMIC TIMES, 9/11).

One of Australian sport's "most successful teams" is without a sponsor days before the start of the season, according to Andrew Wu of THE AGE. Women's National Cricket League side NSW Breakers players are set to take the field in their season opener next week with a "clean" shirt after long-term commercial partner Lendlease "cut ties" with the team this year. It is understood the multi-national construction group's Australian arm was "keen to continue the partnership" but the deal was not renewed to "cut costs at the end of the last financial year." Cricket NSW CEO Andrew Jones said that he was "not concerned" by the departure of Lendlease or the inability to land a replacement. Jones said that Lendlease's financial contribution had "largely gone to funding players' salaries," which now fall under Cricket Australia's player payments pool. Jones: "It's not panic stations by any stretch of the imagination. ... It was a sizable sponsorship and we achieved what we wanted out of it which is to be able to take our women to full-time professional status" (THE AGE, 9/12).

Paris St. Germain and esports firm H2K finalized an agreement in which the companies will co-apply for a franchise slot in the European League of Legends Championship Series. H2K will act as the operating partner for a team that will "likely be co-branded," similar to PSG's deal with LGD Gaming in DOTA 2. If accepted into the league, this will be the first time PSG has been involved in LoL since it exited the esport in Oct. '17 (ESPN.com, 9/12).

German 3. Liga side 1860 Munich "captured the essence of Oktoberfest" by unveiling a special kit in honor of the Bavarian festival. The top is "complete with blue and white gingham shirts and a blue collar." The kit also includes "leather-look shorts to be made to resemble traditional lederhosen attire" (FOX SPORTS, 9/12).

Lagardère Sports signed a management and commercial representation agreement with Finnish golfer Kim Koivu. The 27-year-old's first year as a professional golfer included three wins on the Challenge Tour in '18 (Lagardère Sports).

India-based Hero MotoCorp, the world's largest manufacturer of motorbikes, extended its title sponsorship of golf's World Challenge. The 2018 World Challenge will be played in Albany, Bahamas, from Nov. 29-Dec. 2 (Hero MotoCorp).